Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Brand New Glory Stories CD - Secrets From Heaven {and a St. Mary's Messenger Giveaway!}

I always try to have my Christmas shopping completed (at least mostly completed) before Advent begins and am currently working on checking off a few last items as I start to pull out and set up all of our Advent Decorations and Book Baskets! This year I've broken the "three" gifts for each of our children into three categories: something fun, something faith based, and something to read.

We already had gifts/ideas for most of the children, but I was having a difficult time coming up with something faith based to put under the tree for Chiquita...  (I already have one of the Shining Light Dolls for her stocking.) I was so excited to hear that Holy Heroes has just released a brand new Glory Story CD: Secrets from Heaven - The Children of Fatima!  (If you buy it today you can also choose a free Holy Rosary CD!) It will be perfect for her!

I have decided to wrap the two CDs along with a copy of the St. Mary's Messenger 2013 Summer Issue (which she hasn't seen yet and which featured one of her past birthday parties!) and a St. Mary's Messenger Subscription as her "faith based" gift. She is going to love it!

St. Mary's Messenger is a full-sized, full-color, standalone, 32-page, quarterly Catholic magazine for kids, ages 7 to 12!  The yearly subscriptions (4 issues) are available for $19.95.  I've posted more about St. Mary's Messenger here.

St. Mary's Messenger has generously offered to give complimentary subscriptions to TWO of my visitors here at Shower of Roses!  If you would like to be entered in the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter entry box below:

Friday, November 29, 2013

Celebrating Thanksgiving

I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving!  We were blessed to have friends (Rose's Godparents and their 6 children) stay for the past two nights. My parents and some of my brothers also joined us for dessert and a game of Apples to Apples after dinner... It was so much fun!  I stayed pretty busy in the kitchen most of the day, but I still managed to take a few pictures.  :) 

.: Decorating Cookies :. 
"Thanksgiving" Pumpkin Cookies  (leftover from our All Saints Party) 

.: "Turkey" Appetizers :.

.: Fun with Family & Friends :. 

Our sweet goddaughter, playing board games, and naps before dinner... So cute! 

.: Thanksgiving Feast :. 

And one of my favorite surprises? The last minute "Thankful Tree" Captain was outside making early Thanksgiving morning!   Oh!! And finding out that we have another niece or nephew on the way! 

O God, Thy mercies are without number, and the treasure of Thy goodness is infinite: we offer thanks to Thy most gracious of Thee, Thou wilt never forsake those who pray but prepare for the reward to come. 

Our Festive Raspberry Cranberry Jello Mold

One of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, in addition to the Praline Pecan Yams, is our Raspberry Cranberry Jello Mold...   It also is perfect for Christmas and New Year's as well!  Here is the recipe: 

Raspberry Cranberry Jello Mold

2 cans jellied cranberry sauce
3 1/2 cups water, divided
2 (6 oz) packages raspberry gelatin
2 cans fruit cocktail, drained
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1-12 cup or 2-6 cup molds

Bring cranberry sauce and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often until sauce melts completely. Remove from heat.

Stir in gelatin until completely dissolved.  Stir in remaining 1 3/4 cups water.

Refrigerate until gelatin thickens to consistency of egg whites.

Stir in fruit cocktail and celery.  Ladle into molds. Cover and refrigerate until set.  At least 8 hours or up to 5 days.

To un-mold: Dip mold into warm water. Invert in serving plate shaking gently back and forth to release gelatin. (Repeat if necessary.) Refrigerate if not serving soon.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Praline Pecan and Mallow-Topped Sweet Potatoes

I've been busy in the kitchen all morning, getting as much done as possible before our company arrives!  (They were suppose to arrive last night, but are coming this evening instead.)  I have a spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove for dinner tonight and just finished making the sweet potatoes for tomorrow! 

I've had a couple requests for my recipe(s), after posting a picture on Instagram, and realized I had never shared them here before!  Every Thanksgiving, even growing up, the "Sweet Potatoes and Desserts" were "my job" (my sister Jen always made the rolls and my brother Sean always made the Raspberry Cranberry Jello Mold!) and yesterday my mom called for the recipe since I won't be bringing them over to her house (we will be getting together with my extended family for dessert) this year.

Praline Pecan Yams

29-oz can yams/sweet potatoes, drained
1/3 cup coconut
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 Tbs flour
3 Tbs butter, melted

Note:  This recipe will fill a 1 qt baking dish.  I usually double the recipe for my Pampered Chef oval baking dish or triple the recipe for a 9x13 baking dish.   

Place drained yams (I usually mash them) in ungreased casserole or baking dish.  In a small bowl combine remaining ingredients; blend well.  Sprinkle over yams.  
Bake at 350˚F for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly.

Mallow-Topped Sweet Potatoes 

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted 
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 29-oz can sweet potatoes, drained
large marshmallows

Note:  This recipe will fill a 1 qt baking dish.  I always triple the recipe and bake it in a 9x13 pan. 

Mix butter, orange juice and cinnamon in lightly greased baking dish until well blended. 

Add sweet potatoes; mix lightly. (I always mash the sweet potatoes.)  Top with marshmallows. 

Bake at 350˚F for 15-20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are hot and marshmallows are lightly browned. 

*These last two pictures were taken last year on Thanksgiving.  If you refrigerate them overnight they will take a little longer to bake. 

Now that the sweet potatoes are all ready for tomorrow, it's time to move on to the Raspberry Cranberry Jello Mold  pies and other desserts! 

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe for sweet potatoes? I'd love to hear about it! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Root of Jesse" Ornaments for the Jesse Tree Swap

In addition to the angels I made for the Jesse Tree Ornament Swap, I also mailed in the set of "Jesse" Ornaments (Tree Stump with Shoot) from my local friend Trina, who I convinced to join the swap when she was here tutoring one Tuesday morning.  (Her boys are the ones who have been joining us for a few of our feast day celebrations this year!) She made her ornaments with some birch branches from her backyard and I thought they turned out lovely!  We are really looking forward to seeing the rest of the ornaments when our box arrives!

And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.  Isaiah 11:1

A Choir of Angels for the Jesse Tree Ornament Swap

I've mentioned a few times that I am participating in a Jesse Tree Ornament Swap this year! I choose to make the "Angel" ornament for the swap. Our box of ornaments hasn't arrived yet, but since I've started to see the sets arriving at other homes I thought I'd share the completed pictures of the angel ornaments I made!

Jesse Tree Angel Ornaments

  • 2-3/8" Wood Peg Dolls - I usually purchase mine from Woodworks LTD
  • Acrylic Paint - I used Skintone, Metalic Pearl White and Yellow
  • Fine Tip Sharpie Black Paint Pen (for the Angels eyes)
  • White Glitter Felt - I used 4 sheets for 35 Angels
  • Gold Pipe Cleaners - 5" or so for each Angel (I cut each pipe cleaner in half)
  • White Ribbon (to create a loop for the ornament hook)
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue

First I painted the skintone for the faces and the white gowns.  Then I added a little yellow for the hair and two black eyes using the Sharpie Paint Pen.   I created a paper template and then cut out 2 wings for each angel.   I hot glued the ribbon and the halo created out of pipe cleaner in between the two wings and then attached the Angel to the wings with a little more hot glue.  

It didn't take very long to create one angel ornament... 
The THIRTY-FIVE for the swap was a different story! ;) 

I was very happy with how they turned out and sure hope all the other families who are participating in the swap will like them as well! :)

And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the alter of incense. And Zachary seeing him, was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. 
Luke 1:11-13

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Daybook :: November 25, 2013

Outside my window... 
It has been a beautiful day.  The sun will be setting soon and I probably should be making dinner, but since the baby toddler is still napping and the rest of the kids are outside playing I decided to pop in here instead!

I am thinking...        
about my babies in heaven.

I am thankful... 
for God's grace and the uncountable number of blessings He has sent my way.  God is Good, all the time!

Learning all the time... 
our thanksgiving break has arrived.  I'll be doing some Math lessons with the younger ones, since they fell a little behind during their trip to see their grandparents, but other than that we are all very excited to have the week off our "official" lessons.  Of course, that doesn't mean the learning stops... just that it is a lot more fun! ;)

Celebrating the liturgical year... 
today is the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria.  Since she is the patron for one of our daughters we also celebrate a name-day today!

Catherine of Alexandria from Lives and Legends of Saints

From the kitchen... 
a heart shaped cake.  It is perfect for today in so many different ways.

Spice Cake, Heart Shaped Pan, Dusted with Powdered Sugar

I am working on... 
cleaning and organizing our home...  Rose's Godparents and their six children (including our newest goddaughter!) will be spending Thanksgiving with us this year and they arrive tomorrow night!  We are all so excited!

I am creating... 
a meal plan for the next few days.

I am going... 
to run to the store tonight or tomorrow... I ordered some fudge from my friend Jacinta that I need to pick up and also forgot to by sweet potatoes!  (Note: Jacinta is offering 10% off through November with the code TISTHESEASON!  It's the perfect time to place an order for Christmas - it is amazing fudge!)

I am praying... 
the Act of Resignation to the Will of God from Mother Love   Such a beautiful prayer and there is a partial indulgence attached when united to performing your duties or bearing the trial of life.

May the most just, most high, and most amiable will of God be done in all things, be praised and magnified forever! 

I am reading... 
a new Advent and Christmas book that arrived in my mailbox today.   I was actually sent two copies - one to review and one to giveaway!  I hope you all aren't sick of the giveaways yet! ;)

Pondering these words...
from today's Quiet Moment in Catholic Digest:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths." 
Proverbs 3:5-6

Around the house... 
still so much to do to prepare for company and dinner will not make itself, so I had better get going... But I do have a review and giveaway to post first!

One of my favorite things...  
the surprises (I like to think of them as little gifts from heaven) that always arrive on November 24-25th!  Last year it was a St. Christopher picture book.  This year it was a stunning St. Therese Rosary from Gail Giron Designs!   I agreed to review one of her products and host a giveaway months ago and just love that it happened to arrive today, and is covered with roses!  Thank you Gail!

The pictures don't even do justice to this gorgeous St. Therese Rosary!   It is made with Rhodochrosite, Solid Bronze Medals and Roses, Faceted Crystals and all wire-wrapped for longevity.

My husband actually met Gail when he was on a fire assignment in Colorado last year and was admiring her rosaries after Mass!  Gail said this rosary she choose to send as a sample was very similar to the one he was looking at back then.  The quality and craftsmanship is simply outstanding!

Gail has a number of items available in her Etsy shop and also accepts custom orders.  In fact my mom, after seeing Gail's new ad in the sidebar, had me help her order three of the bracelets to give my sisters as Christmas gifts.  After they arrived, my mom mentioned that she wasn't sure she'd be able to part with all of them!  Since then she has placed a second order for a forth bracelet, and still hopes to order a couple more... I have a lot of sisters! ;)   Keep scrolling down to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a bracelet of your own! 

This week's plans...
  • Spend lots of time with friends and family! I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving and Blessed First Sunday of Advent!  (Just in case I am not able to make it back to the computer this week... We'll see!) 

A Giveaway...

Gail Giron Design has generously offered to send a lovely Rose Bracelet to one of my visitors here at Shower of Roses!

Please visit Gail Giron Design's Blog, Etsy Shop and Facebook Page

You can enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below: 

Friday, November 22, 2013

On the Feast of St. Cecilia :: A Sweet and Simple Treat

Let the deep organ swell the lay, 
In honor of this festive day. 
Let the harmonious choirs proclaim, 
Cecilia's ever blessed name.

This afternoon, after getting home from Mass, the girls had so much fun making a simple and sweet treat for the feast of St. Cecilia!  We enjoyed listening to Cecilia, Saint of the Catacombs - The Story of Saint Cecilia to and reading a little more about this beautiful saint from Saints: Lives and Illuminations.  

Can You Find Saint Cecilia? 

The dresses arrived this week from Sew Sweet by Shannon and were sent as samples - along with some adorable Felt Breakfast Food - for hosting a giveaway here at Shower of Roses! (Thank you Shannon!) 

Shannon is a 17 year old Catholic homeschool graduate who recently opened her shop over at Etsy!  She offers modest clothing for girls and women, lovely tote bags, and much more!   I immediately fell in love with all the beautiful and well-made items she sent and am already considering another dress for Rose (maybe in green?) and a couple of her tote bags for myself and oldest daughter.  

Sew Sweet by Shannon has generously offered the following two prizes to the visitors here at Shower of Roses! 

Please enter the giveaway below:

Cecilia with a two-fold crown,
Adorned in heaven we pray look down,
Upon thy fervent children here
And harken to their humble prayer.

Sancta Cecilia, Ora Pro Nobis!